SC Asset to invest Bt2 billion in 2007
Yingluck Shinawatra says customers' focus is on quality, not who owns project
SC Asset, a property firm owned by the Shinawatra family, plans to invest Bt2 billion this year after rebranding its organisation to focus more on the middle to upper market, chairwoman Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday.
It will use Bt1 billion to purchase a new land bank for development projects from now until next year, while the rest will be spent on construction of its new office near Bangkok's central business district in the second half of this year.
Half the funds will come from cash flow and the remainder from bank loans, the younger sister of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra said.
Yingluck said the company's business did not suffer any negative impact from the political situation because its customers are concerned about housing quality and not who is the owner of the project.
"We are a property firm that does not have any relationship with the political side, although our elder brother Thaksin faced political problems," Yingluck said.
She added that after the coup of September 19, the company surveyed its customers' feelings about SC Asset Corp. Most were pleased with the housing projects located close to mass-transit systems, the quality of housing and after-sale services for security and infrastructure. They were not interested in who owned the firm.
Meanwhile, Yingluck has faced a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation about insider trading when she sold some shares in Advanced Info Service before Shin Corp sold a major stake to Singapore-based Temasek Holdings.
She said that she clarified to the SEC that she sold the shares before the deal and didn't know that the deal would go through before she sold the shares. "I had to sell the shares because this was stock option. If I didn't sell them, the date for sale would expire. Meanwhile, I had to sell some of my investments for payment of bank loans," she said.
The SEC also questioned whether the offshore Dynamic Fund and the Overseas Growth Fund, who held the SC Asset shares, were actually owned by the Shinawatra family. Yingluck said that the company reported to the SEC that the funds did not have a relationship with the Shinawatra family. Both are overseas funds that were not nominees of the Shinawatra family.
"We believed that our statement to SEC was clear. Our property business does not have a relationship with politics and we believe that our business will continue to record strong growth this year," she said.
SC Asset recorded sales growth of 30 per cent last year and expects similar growth this year.
It announced revenue of Bt1.3 billion and a net profit of Bt228 million in the first nine months of last year - 40 per cent from rental business and 60 per cent from the sale of residential projects. The firm announced sales of Bt1.6 billion and a net profit of Bt432 million in 2005.
The company plans to launch five new projects this year worth Bt3 billion, including detached housing, townhouses and condominiums. The first two projects are Vista Park townhouses at Prachachuen and Centric Scene condominiums at Soi Aree, Phahonyothin Road. Three more projects will be launched in the second half of this year.
The company's new projects will focus on the middle to upper market by offering prices between Bt1.5 million to Bt 4.5 million per unit.
"Demand for the middle market shows strong growth this year. As a result, we have to rebrand our business - both our logo and business product - to cover the middle to upper market," Yingluck said.
The new logo has changed from blue and red to orange and grey.
The company will spend Bt70 million on rebranding this year.